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Trump Defends Sexy Miss USA Pics; Kindergarten Teacher Cleared of Molestation

Aired May 12, 2010 - 21:00   ET



LARRY KING, HOST (voice-over): Tonight. Are these photos borderline porn? Miss USA contestants take off their clothes, pose for pictures and approved by the pageant.

Donald Trump tells why the sexy images are OK with him. Judges Paula Deen and Johnny Weir are here, too, defending the nearly naked women.

Plus a former teacher acquitted of child molestation. Her own daughter testified against her. And now her parents and attorneys speak out saying she was innocent all along.



KING: Tomorrow night we've got a big exclusive with T.I. And don't forget Mick Jagger next Tuesday night.

There is currently a huge uproar over this year's Miss USA pageant. Racy photos and video show the contestants wearing next to nothing as you just saw. The Miss USA 2010 pageant is live from Las Vegas this Sunday.

With us on the phone, old friend, Donald Trump. He owns the pageant. Paula Deen, the famous cook, restaurateur, author and TV personality is with us from Savannah, Georgia. She is -- she's a judge in this year's pageant.

And here in L.A. the fierce Johnny Weir, Olympic figure skater, also a pageant judge this year.

Donald, why does your pageant create controversy?

DONALD TRUMP, OWNER, MISS USA PAGEANT: Well, I really don't know. I think it really has to do with the level of the beauty of the women. The women are really beautiful.

The ratings have been fantastic, almost since I bought it, because it was a little bit of a sick puppy before I bought it. And as you know it just got extended. Both the Miss Universe and the Miss USA just got extended by NBC for three years whereas the Miss America pageant is off television -- at least it's off network television.

KING: The idea -- the idea of doing --

TRUMP: So it's been amazing.

KING: The idea of doing these -- as best described -- racy layout, photo layouts, publicity, reason, change, what?

TRUMP: Well, I think they're art and I think were really a sign of the times. I mean the world has progressed from the old-fashioned beauty pageant to what we have now and the photographer is a great photographer, a world class photographer, and this is what he wanted to do. And it really is high art. And the girls are magnificent.

KING: Yes, they are beautiful. What do you say to the critics who say it looks more like Victoria's Secret than a beauty pageant?

TRUMP: Well, I think these girls in many respects are more beautiful than Victoria's Secret. I think that the pictures are actually much more beautiful and they're really not very racy.

I mean there's no exposure. There's none of that. They're just very high line and this is 2010, which is a different decade from the decades we've been talking about, Larry.

KING: Speaking of that, let's take a look back at what a racy part of the competition looked like. This is 1977. The host is a young Bob Barker. Watch.


BOB BARKER, TV HOST: Now we've never taken a poll, but I am willing to bet that the swimsuit competition is just about the most popular event in this pageant. It's also a very tough assignment for the judges. Yes, it is.

So judges, get ready. And you at home get ready, too, for our 12 semifinalists in the Miss USA swimsuit competition.

Miss District of Columbia. Miss Hawaii. Miss Virginia.


KING: Little different, Donald.

TRUMP: It's a little bit different, and I love Bob Barker. I thought he was terrific but the world's changed, Larry.

KING: It has. All right, let's find out what two of your judges think. Paula Deen, you're a cook, a restaurateur, author. What do you make of these pictures?

PAULA DEEN, MISS USA 2010 JUDGE: Yes, Larry. Hello, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: Hello, Paula. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday night. DEEN: Thank you, thank you, thank you for including me. I can't hardly wait, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: Great.

DEEN: You know, I was able to see a little bit this morning, and I thought the photos were in fabulously, beautiful, good taste. And like Mr. Trump said, we're in a different decade right now, and these girls can only do this for a very short period.

In fact, I have pictures of myself back in 1963 when I was only 15 years old, my mother had to drive me to the shoot, and I was in a bikini. And she worried over that but that was in the '60s.

KING: Different time. Let me ask Johnny Weir --

DEEN: So I --

KING: All right, hold it, Paula, we get your point.


KING: Johnny, what do you make of this?

JOHNNY WEIR, MISS USA 2010 JUDGE: I think it's an amazing, amazing spread that the girls have partaken in, and I think -- I think something that I always gathered from these pageants on television was just the empowerment that these women had over their bodies, their looks, the way they spoke, their -- how clever they were.

And I think it's important for kids to see that if they're in lingerie, even if they're in an evening gown, even if they're in a plastic bag, they have this empowerment to be out there and they believe themselves as strong women.

KING: Can you understand why people might be offended? Some people.

WEIR: I understand why people may be offended but I don't agree in any way. I think it's artistic, it's stunning. These girls are stunning. They worked so hard their whole lives for this contest and they're stunning.

They got into this contest because of their looks and how clever they are and how powerful they are as women. I think it's a great message for young women around the world.

KING: Your wife Melania, Donald, is a judge. Did she have any problem with these layouts?

TRUMP: She really didn't. She thought the pictures were beautiful. And, you know, when you use offended a lot of times the word can be changed for jealous. People are jealous because the girls are so beautiful and so amazing. And the pictures are really beautiful and extremely artistic.

And she really looks forward to being a judge and she'll be with Johnny and she'll be with Paula, and she's a fan of them, and so am I.

KING: Would it be OK to you if Ivanka were a contestant and dressed like that?

TRUMP: Absolutely not. She would never be allowed. How dare you suggest that, Larry?


KING: We'll be right back with more of Paula Deen, Johnny Weir and Donald Trump. Don't go away.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To change the look of Miss USA, which we have been going in that direction for so many years now, this was like pushing it this time but I think, you know, we succeeded. All of them were like into it and were excited about getting a sexy shot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was hot and sexy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was the big crazy hair and the cat eyes and the hot pink lipsticks, and fishnet pantyhose and corsets and boy shorts. So it was fun. It was so fun.


KING: By the way in a little while a former Miss USA will defend this and a former judge in Miss USA will attack it. So we'll have a debate on this. But a few more moments with Donald Trump, Paula Deen and Johnny Weir.

Paula, if you had a daughter, would you let her enter this and dress that way?

DEEN: Well, it's hard to answer, Larry, because I don't have a daughter. But if she was passionate about this I would certainly consider giving her my support. As long as it was, you know, in good taste. Porn, no.

KING: Johnny, is there an area where you would draw a line?

WEIR: I think porn is a bit much for Miss USA.

KING: How about nudity?

WEIR: Nudity. It may be a little bit much --

KING: NBC wouldn't go for nudity.

WEIR: Well, NBC wouldn't like that, no. But no, I think -- I think there is no line in 2010. There's no line to say what's too far, what's not far enough. I mean look how the world has embraced Lady Gaga wearing Diet Coke cans in her wig. I mean we've gone a very, very long way. I mean I think this photo spread is incredible.


WEIR: It's incredible.

KING: Donald, is -- does NBC have any complaints about this?

TRUMP: I think NBC is very happy, and they're certainly very happy with me because since I've owned it we've gotten terrific ratings on both the Miss USA and -- you know if you think about it, Miss Universe -- in particular Miss Universe -- has become a tremendous success. Miss USA has followed the same path and Miss America is essentially off television.

I mean they're not even on television and Miss America, when I bought it, that was really the big beauty pageant and today it's Miss USA and Miss Universe. So NBC loves me very much, Larry.


TRUMP: They also love me because "The Apprentice" does very well.

KING: Carrie Prejean, probably the most famous Miss USA contestant, how do these pictures with hers? Do you remember, Donald?

TRUMP: Well, Carrie had a different problem. It was beyond just the pictures. She had a -- other, as you remember, not to go into the whole thing because you had your fill with Carrie, but you had a very difficult evening with Carrie --

KING: Yes.

TRUMP: -- if we all remember. But Carrie was, you know, exposed, and these people -- you know, the folks we have on here are very, very beautiful and not at all exposed.

KING: Paula, are you looking -- you're looking -- have you ever judged before?

DEEN: I have never judged, Larry. Only on my sofa. But I love it. I've been a big fan of pageants for adult women for a long, long time, and you know, I think Mr. Trump is the master, the master at marketing. So I certainly trust his judgment and I can't wait to be a part of it all.

KING: Johnny, have you judged before?

DEEN: I dreamed the other night, Larry, that I was in it.

KING: What did you dream, Paula? You dreamed you were in it.

DEEN: I dreamed I was a contestant, yes.

WEIR: We've got to get her on.


KING: OK. You sure know how to pick the judges, Donald.

TRUMP: They're going to be two great judges and we have some other great judges including my wife so you're going to have a lot of fun. Sunday night --

DEEN: Can't wait to meet her.

TRUMP: -- will be a lot of fun.

KING: Johnny, is -- have you ever judged before?

WEIR: I've never judged before but I'm already planning my outfit. I'm so excited to see the girls.

KING: What are you going to wear, Johnny?

WEIR: It may or may not --

KING: Tell me right now.

WEIR: It may or may not have feathers.


DEEN: Just please don't be prettier than me, Johnny.

WEIR: I won't, I promise, Paula. I could never.

KING: You're so fierce, Johnny.



KING: Donald, what -- what kind of numbers are you going to get Sunday night?

TRUMP: Well, we're going to get very -- really very big numbers and right after that, we have "The Apprentice" so we have "Celebrity Apprentice" following the Miss USA pageant.

And as you know, they're both two hours so we have four hours of NBC network television. I think we're going to get very big numbers. And the Miss -- as you know, they just renewed "The Apprentice" for two more seasons. And that's going to get very big numbers. So I think it's going to be a great evening.

DEEN: Congratulations.

TRUMP: For NBC. Thank you. I think it's going to be a great -- and really a great evening for the viewers. KING: And, Donald, do you expect another gay marriage question?

TRUMP: Well, I don't know. You know they come out of nowhere.

KING: I know.

TRUMP: Don't get the president of the United States answer the question, but in all fairness to Carrie because she's so beautiful what she said -- and you probably saw this, Johnny and Paula, because the world saw it -- when she said a man should marry a woman, it became like a national scandal. But that was only because she's so beautiful.

KING: Thank you all very much. We'll look forward to Sunday night.

Donald Trump, Paula Deen, Johnny Weir. The Miss USA pageant.

Next, in one corner, former Miss USA, Tara Conner. In the other, Sherry Lee Ralph, former pageant contestant, former judge. They will face off right after the break.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the end of the day I always try to make things classy, even if it's sexy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got the feeling now?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, keep it very sexy. It's very sensual and classy but still really, really sexy. Yes.

By seeing the picture then they get it because a lot of times, what is he doing, what -- they feel in a weird position. You know, and then once they see the picture they loosen up completely and they give you all they have.


KING: Joining us now is Tara Conner, Miss USA 2006, and a judge for the Miss USA 2010 pageant. She approves of the sexy pictures.

And from Philadelphia, Sheryl Lee, actress, former contestant in several pageants. She was a judge in the Miss USA pageant 1994, and she doesn't like the photos.

So let's start with Sheryl Lee.

What bothers you, Sheryl? SHERYL LEE RALPH, MISS USA 1994 JUDGE: What really bothers me about the photos is the fact that, one, they've been shot in black and white, OK, so that's the artsy part, but one you've told these girls that in order for them to be truly sexy they've got to take off their clothes.

I'm tired of that. We just keep sexualizing our daughters, younger and younger, and it's just getting to be a bit too much. But then again, we're talking about the Miss USA pageant, which is not about brains, it's about bust and behind.

KING: Other than that, Sheryl Lee, try to have an opinion.



KING: Tara, what -- how do you respond?

TARA CONNER, MISS USA 2006, MISS USA 2010 JUDGE: I definitely don't think it's not anything about brains and it's just about bust and behind. Miss USA stands for so many amazing things. We champion breast and ovarian cancer for our year. We do USO work.

I think it's amazing that all that they -- people can focus on right now are lingerie photos which cover more than what the swimsuit usually covers in a typical pageant. However, Miss USA was down in Haiti giving sonograms or giving out sonograms and medical supplies. She's, you know, championing, you know, amazing causes throughout the year.

RALPH: Sonogram supplies?

CONNER: You have to be intelligent -- really?

RALPH: Sonogram supplies?

CONNER: Sonogram and supplies.

RALPH: And all of that good work, nobody sees any of that good work. What everybody is going to see --

CONNER: No, they don't see that good work.

RALPH: -- is what's on that screen. When it comes to the air --

KING: Sheryl --

RALPH: -- airing of the show. That's what people are going to see.

CONNER: This is what --

KING: Sheryl -- what's wrong, Sheryl, though, with adults who -- they're adults, you don't have to watch the show. It is 2010.

CONNER: It is 2010.

RALPH: You are so right. You do not have to watch the show but trust me, an awful lot of people are going to watch the show after seeing those pictures.

Those are some beautiful girls. Those are some hot girls, but what about the message that we're sending to young women all across America? You want to be beautiful? You want to be hot? Then you, too, get to take off your clothes.

Show America just how hot you really are, but remember, when you take these pictures, we want you to be classy, but just give us just a little bit more sex.

You know there's a fine line between sex and trash. When you start looking at these pictures of these girls and you see stripper poles, something's wrong.

CONNER: Do you think the Victoria's Secret models are trashy?

RALPH: Some of the Victoria's Secret models -- they're borderline. There are a lot of men who make sure they order that Victoria's Secret book so that their wives are feeling oh, they're going to order something for me when really they're getting a good look.

CONNER: Do you also know that some of our contestants are engineers? Do you know that some of them are into law school right now?

RALPH: Absolutely.

CONNER: And they have their masters?

RALPH: Absolutely.

CONNER: But also this is what I want to say.

RALPH: I have no problem with that.


KING: One at a time. One at a time. Go ahead.

RALPH: I have no problem with that. But a lot of the young girls in America, they're not going to know that part. What they're going to see is beautiful, young girls without their clothes on and they're going to feel that that is the pathway to success. Come on.

KING: Let Tara get a word in.

CONNER: But how many -- how many little girls out there watch pop videos or do you see these women who are using lingerie?

RALPH: You are right.

CONNER: Let's face it. It's 2010. But if they want to follow --

RALPH: You are right.

CONNER: And look at our Web site and follow Miss USA and be a fan, what they'll find is education. They will find various charities that these girls work for. It's a service, it's a job.

KING: Tara, would you wear the outfits we've just seen.

CONNER: I wish that in my year I was able to wear that. I was on a swimsuit on the rocks. Instead, I, you know, at least they had something cozy to sit on. It wasn't trashy. It's artistic.

Fidel shoots Rolex ads. He's classy. These photos are classy. It would be different if they were exposing their bodies like in the inappropriate stuff. So you're not --


RALPH: Come on. Some of those girls didn't even have their bras on.

CONNER: I don't --

RALPH: Trust me, they may have been covered up just enough but it's definitely borderline. Now mind you --

CONNER: They have shirts on.

RALPH: I have got nothing against being sexy because we all know a man loves a lady in the street and a freak in the bed --


RALPH: -- but we should keep the freak covered up just a little bit more.


CONNER: Well, everyone's entitled to their opinions that they have. I mean --


CONNER: -- I have eyebrows, you have eyebrows, we all have opinions. So that's how it is. But --

KING: I have eyebrows.

CONNER: You have eyebrows? I have eyebrows. The Miss USA pageant --

RALPH: We all have -- all God's children got eyebrows.

CONNER: Yes, we do. But we also have -- most of these girls love doing this shoot. All of the girls thought it was fabulous. Most of them want to be --

RALPH: I don't think all of those girls probably loved doing that shoot. I'm sure there were a few girls that were caught by surprise. I'm certainly sure that some of those girls that have to go back to the bible belt and go back to the south might have a little bit of explaining to do to their family and their churches.

CONNER: I'm from the south and I was raised in the bible belt.

RALPH: Yes, but you weren't a part of this shoot.

CONNER: Everyone in my town loved me.

RALPH: But you weren't a part of the shoot.

CONNER: Yes, I wasn't -- but I was involved in a drug scandal. I had a drug problem and the Miss Universe organization helped me get through that and if it weren't for them then I probably wouldn't be alive today.


RALPH: And you know what I'm glad for that.

CONNER: I am sober for three years and five months now.

RALPH: That's -- and we applaud you. Thank God.

CONNER: It's -- that's all of the negative things that people see and they see one thing that they don't find appropriate when it could be far worse. These were artistic. This was cutting edge and I think they're freaking fabulous.

KING: This has been interesting. I will say this for Donald Trump, I think people are going to watch on Sunday night.

RALPH: Yes, they are.

KING: Thank you, Sheryl Lee. Good seeing you.

RALPH: Thank you -- thank you very much Larry.

KING: And thank you, Tara Conner. Congratulations on sobriety.

CONNER: And thank you to you, too.

KING: Congratulations on the sobriety, too.

CONNER: Thank you so much.

KING: Hey, get this. A former teacher has been acquitted of molesting children. Why was she charged in the first place? Her parents are here next.


KING: An iconic figure doesn't do a lot of interviews. One of our top requests of all-time has finally made it.

Tonya Craft, a former kindergarten teacher was found not guilty Tuesday on 22 charges in a molestation case that divided the small community of Chickamauga, Georgia. One of the three children who testified against her was her own daughter.

Joining us are Tonya's parents, Tony and Betty Faires, and Diana Ellis, Tonya's good friend.

Tonya lost custody of her two children following her arrest in 2008 and she had this reaction on the "Today" show to her acquittal. Watch.


TONYA CRAFT, FORMER TEACHER: It wasn't a victory. There's nobody that wins in this situation. And my whole heart had been taken and I got half of it back, but until I get my children, I won't have my entire heart per se back.

I never thought I could have been arrested for something I didn't do, so it's like I absolutely had to expect the worst, and pray and pray and hope for the best and the truth to come out.


KING: Betty, that's your daughter. What did you make of this whole story?

BETTY FAIRES, TONYA CRAFT'S MOTHER: Well, we were just devastated when this came out. We knew that our daughter was completely innocent of these charges, and we stood behind her 100 percent, and we knew that the truth would come out. It was just a long time coming.

KING: Did she stay with you during this ordeal when she lost her job and her children?

B. FAIRES: No, sir, she did not.

KING: Tony, how did you handle all of this?

TONY FAIRES, TONYA CRAFT'S FATHER: Well, I tried to do the best I could. It was awful hard to see the thing going on and the accusations being made about it, but you just have to do it.

KING: Diana, what was the prosecution saying?

DIANA ELLIS, TONYA CRAFT'S FRIEND: Well, I mean she was alleged -- you know, to have molested these three girls and she didn't do it.

KING: Was this -- where was this supposed to have taken place, Diana?

ELLIS: In Catoosa (ph) county, where she lived.

KING: In the school room, in the home, where?

ELLIS: In her home, they alleged.

KING: She teaches kindergarten. What, these are five-year-old children, right?

ELLIS: That's correct.

KING: Betty, how -- your own granddaughter testified against your daughter? How did you react to that?

B. FAIRES: I, of course, did not get to hear the testimony, because they cleared the courtroom. And I was a potential witness, so I did not get to hear the testimony, but from what I heard -- of course, it's very upsetting and very devastating to hear your granddaughter say the alleged --

KING: On the "Today" show today, Tonya talked about how tough it was to hear her daughter testify against her. Watch.


TANYA CRAFT, FOUND NOT GUILTY: That was the absolutely hardest thing that I've ever experienced, because my jobs as a mother is to protect her, and there obviously was no anger towards her. It absolutely broke my heart to see that my daughter had been pretty much indoctrinated to believe things that weren't true.


KING: Betty, what is her relationship like with her daughter now?

ELLIS: Well, my daughter had -- that's the only time my daughter has seen her child in the past almost two years. I see her every other weekend, but she hasn't been able to see her due to the circumstances.

B. FAIRES: Tony, doesn't she get -- now that she's not guilty, doesn't she get her children right back?

T. FAIRES: Well, we're having to go through the court action with Tennessee to work on that problem, because there's some adjusting that needs to be done. We think the lawyers do -- to make sure that you know that she's got the right frame of mind and stuff. Not that she's not normal or anything, but just, you know, checking her feelings out and actually seeing how much she's been hammered.

KING: Diana, have you seen your friend a lot and how is Tonya doing now?

ELLIS: Well I, of course, saw her yesterday. I did speak to her today. She sounds pretty good. Of course, she is emotionally and physically drained through this process, but she's going to be good.

KING: Does she want to teach again? ELLIS: I don't think so. I think she should get a law degree.

KING: Betty, do you expect everything to be all right between her and your granddaughter?

B. FAIRES: I think it will take time, but, you know, children are very resilient. And I think in time, things will work out and it will be great again.

KING: We hope so. And when we come back, we're going to meet the attorney for Tonya, and also talk to an assistant state attorney who prosecutes cases like this, and figure out how innocence on all 22 charges, right after this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The State of Georgia Versus Tonya Craft, we the jury find the defendant, count number one, not guilty. Count number two, not guilty. Count number five, six, seven, ten, 13, not guilty. Count number 22, not guilty. This 12th day of May, 2010, signed Dick Prius (ph), court person.


KING: Joining us Scott King, one of Tonya Craft's attorneys. He's in Chattanooga. And in Miami, Stacy Honowitz, Florida assistant state attorney. She specializes in child abuse and sex crimes cases and is author of "My Privates Are Private." Great title.

Scott, how long did this trial last?

SCOTT KING, ATTORNEY: Just into five weeks, although it lasted two years of hard work and research and learning everything that was going on. But the trial itself lasted just over five weeks.

KING: How many witnesses testified against your client?

S. KING: Approximately 11 against, if I've got that number right. We had a witness list of about 100. And as it got to -- into the fifth week, we had to reduce -- we had to reduce it down. We called I would say 40 -- approximately 40 witnesses.

KING: Were there girls and boys against her?

S. KING: All females, all females.

KING: All females.

S. KING: We actually brought in numerous, both girls and boys, who were friends of my client's children, who were there all the time. It's when you have an allegation of something like this, how do you disprove where you were, you know, two years ago. So we actually did our best to bring in everyone that was there.

KING: Why didn't her own daughter testifying against her cinch it for the prosecution?

S. KING: Well, it was an interesting story with her daughter. Actually, in the beginning, the first claim was her mommy put medicine on her, that everything was her mommy put medicine; 706 days later, after not being -- having any contact with my client, her story got progressively worse, and worse to the point where when she came in to trial, she didn't even remember saying that she had said my mom put medicine on me, and had to, of course, be reminded.

KING: Stacey, isn't it weird to have 22 counts all not guilty, five weeks of testimony, people -- how do you look at this from far away?

STACEY HONOWITZ, ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY: Listen, Larry, these cases are very difficult. And although my job is to protect these kids, that's what I do on a daily basis, there are some times when you go into a courtroom and you have allegations made by very young children where a jury just does not believe them. And if there's no corroboration, if there's no other evidence other than the word of these children, sometimes it's difficult for a jury to hang their hat on that.

And in this case, the defense was able to show a lot of inconsistencies in the statements made by these kids. And it really divided a town, because you had allegations made by more than one child, and you've had a teacher who had a stellar background. So these cases are very difficult to prosecute and when there's not guilty on all the counts, it's not that surprising.

KING: Is it sometimes the effect, Stacey, of the parents on the children, that the parents trying to coax the children?

HONOWITZ: Absolutely, in these types of cases you need to have very seasoned prosecutors and seasoned detectives that are able to sit down with the child and not lead them. You also have to be very careful in warning parents that if it looks like you're coaching the child, if you're constantly asking the child did someone touch you, where did they up touch you, isn't it true they touched you there, and putting it into their head, that it can backfire in court. I'm not saying backfiring that the person is guilt and then the child caused it to be a not guilty. I'm saying you have to be careful when you have the word of a youngster to really investigate and to get that child alone and not lead them, and find out if, in fact, somebody else is trying to put something in their head.

KING: Scott, you announced it -- go ahead, quickly.

S. KING: I was just going to say real quickly that's exact -- their biggest problem was here is that's exactly what happened, parental leading, inexperienced or poor detective work. It was -- it was a mess from the beginning to the end, to the point where these children were convinced to say something and convinced to believe something perhaps that never happened.

KING: The foreman was very definitive in announcing the not guilty. Did you expect a not guilty, Scott? S. KING: You always hope for the best. You worry about the worst. But we believed in Tonya. We had a very tight team. There were four of us, Demostenes Lorandos (ph) out of Michigan, Clancy Cover out of Chattanooga, and my father, Kerry King, and I, we all -- before any of us would get involved, we had to meet with the client and we had to believe in this case. I can honestly say we all believed and we prayed. I mean, it's very tough when three young children get up there and say this stuff, especially your client's daughter. But we were convinced that they had been convinced to say something that didn't -- wasn't true.

KING: Congratulations. Great job. We have not heard the last. Stacey, thanks as always. Scott King, Stacey Honowitz, lots more to come on LARRY KING LIVE, including four extraordinary soldiers, a special look back at one of our favorite 25 moments with Marlon Brando, next.


KING: I want to remind you about our exclusive interview with TI. We'll get into his music, his message and his time in jail tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: It's time for another of our top LARRY KING LIVE moments. What can I say about our interview with Marlon Brando except watch.


KING: Our guest is Marlon Brando. We have a full hour to go. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.

Brando does not do interviews. I get a call and the voice says, Larry King, this is Marlon. And I actually said, Marlon who?

MARLON BRANDO, ACTOR: I wore some red suspenders in your honor.

KING: Oh, my god. Have you ever wanted to run for office?

BRANDO: I want to run from office.

KING: Let me get a break. We'll come back with Marlon Brando. There's lots of other things to talk about.

BRANDO: No, I'm leaving now. It doesn't matter what he says.

KING: We'll be right back. Don't go away.

He was disarming. He was very open. He had food for the whole crew. He served champagne. He served it. He was a genuine good guy.

BRANDO: I could have been a contender. I could have been somebody.

KING: You chose it as a profession. BRANDO: Because there isn't anything that pays you as much money as acting, while you are deciding what the hell you're going to do with yourself.

KING: He said if someone would just pull up to this door twice a year and leave five million dollars, I'll never act again.


KING: I've never been kissed by a man in my life until Brando. And I got to tell you the truth, I can't stop thinking about him.


BRANDO: Darling, good-bye.

KING: Good-bye.

I had no idea he was going to do that. That was Brando, impetuous. It's what made him the greatest screen actor of our time.


KING: For a brief moment here, here's Marlon Brando's son, Miko. Think of him often?

MIKO BRANDO, SON OF MARLON BRANDO: Every day. I think about him every day.

KING: That was your dad.

M. BRANDO: That was him. That was the real him. Yep.

KING: What are you doing now? What are you bringing flowers here for?

M. BRANDO: Happy anniversary, 25th anniversary.

KING: Are you in the flower business?

M. BRANDO: We just bought a flower shop in Beverly Hills, Flowers by Michael. And I want to present to you this for your anniversary.

KING: I'm honored. We shall grace the studio. Where is Flowers by Michael located.

M. BRANDO: In Beverly Hills on Beverly. It's in Wilshire.

KING: Not a bad location. Your father would had been proud.

M. BRANDO: He would have been very proud.

KING: Do you miss him?

M. BRANDO: I miss him very much. KING: How good of a dad was he?

M. BRANDO: He was a very good dad. He was my teacher. He was very good. He was there -- always there for me. Good man. Miss him tremendously.

KING: He had a good son.

M. BRANDO: Thank you.

KING: You're a good man.

M. BRANDO: Thank you.

KING: Flowers by Michael.

M. BRANDO: Yes, yes.

KING: Wilshire in Beverly.

M. BRANDO: On Beverly. Thank you.

KING: We need you to help us choose the top five moments in my 25 years here at CNN. We're going to count them down beginning May 31st. That's my silver anniversary week. Go to and make the picks. While you're at it, register to win a trip to L.A., meet me, see the show live. We'll have dinner too.

Next a very important group. Don't go away.


KING: This is Armed Forces Week. And to honor those who are serving and have served this country, we welcome the four troops quartet, who released their self-titled album this week. Bonded by their military ties and love of music, they are Former Captain Meredith Melcher. She was a platoon leader in Iraq. Former Sergeant Daniel Jens deployed to Iraq as a crew member with the field artillery canon. He placed 11th on the season three of NBC's "America's Got Talent." Staff Sergeant Ron Henry, transport manager in Iraq, recently retired after a 20-year career. And former Sergeant David Clemo, initially deployed in Afghanistan after 9/11, and then to Iraq, where he laid fiber-optic cables.

Meredith, how did this group come together.

CAPT. MEREDITH MELCHER, US ARMY (RET): Well, we actually knew one man who we had worked with at various points in our military music careers, and you know when the opportunity presented itself through Sony, he sort of rounded us all up. And we had about two days to go to New York and rehearse a couple of songs. We performed them for Sony and they loved it. And that's how we're here today.

KING: So are you now going to be a group, Daniel? Are you going to go in concert? SGT. DANIEL JENS, US ARMY (RET): Oh yes, Larry. You know we're so excited. We've already done a military tour through several different Army and Air Force bases. And now we're doing this -- a lot of media right now because the album's out. But in the fall, after our PBS special comes out, we're going to do a huge tour.

KING: That is great. Ron, did the blending happen initially? How did the four of you hook up together?

STAFF SGT RON HENRY, US ARMY (RET): Well, I mean, how we hooked up is we all knew a common man by the name of Victor Hurtado (ph). Victor Hurtado came and talked to our management through Dan, who did "America's Got Talent." We presented ourselves to Sony. And it -- it has been such a rewarding experience. We're doing things that we never thought that we would do.

KING: David, are you -- are you enjoying this new life?

SGT. DAVID CLEMO, US ARMY (RET): Yes. It's totally overwhelming and the response that we get from service members as well as the general public has been nothing but positive. And so we're just really happy to be here and trying to grasp it as we go.

KING: What kind of songs are on the album, Meredith?

MELCHER: Oh, Larry, any -- anyone and everybody can listen to this album, because it has pop music on it, country music, R&B, rock, patriotic. We wanted to touch on personal relationships between service members and families, as well as touching on the patriotism. So you'll find everything on this album. It's for everyone.

KING: Give me a little example, acapella. I don't want to throw you much, but give me like 30 seconds. Pick any tune that you want.

MELCHER: OK, we'll do a song called "For Freedom."

KING: OK, go ahead.


KING: Wow! This -- you guys are going to be major. I understand you sang at Fenway Park, the Red Sox/Yankee game last week.

JENS: That's right.

KING: Where are you going to tour? Where are you going to start touring, Ron?

HENRY: We're going to start touring sometime in August time frame. We're doing the -- a lot of PBS specials. We're doing cities like Jacksonville. We're doing Norfolk, Virginia. We're doing some Detroit, Michigan. So we're so elated to be able to be a part of this and to just give back and show that we're supporting our service members and their families.

KING: David, what kind of orchestra backing you? CLEMO: Well, right now it's just us and the tracks. When we go on tour, we're discussing if we want to have a live band with us or not. So that's still in the works.

KING: Meredith, are you proud of your service in Iraq.

MELCHER: Oh, yes. I mean, it's something that, you know, we've all shared, we've all done. And you know, it's interesting because we've gotten such a good response from the military community, because since we've been there, we sing these -- these lyrics with an authenticity that you might not find otherwise. So it's really -- you know, we're honored.

KING: What message are you sending, Daniel?

JENS: Just a message of -- of hope, inspiring people to just back our troops and support our troops, past, present and future. And not only that, but support the families that have to deal with those long separations as well.

KING: So it's not political, Ron, right? This suits everybody?

HENRY: Yeah -- yes, sir. It's not about the war. It's not about political issues. It's about the warriors. It's about all those armed forces members and their families and Department of Defense employees. We're just here to support them because they're making a change in our country.

KING: Now, can we obtain the album right now? Can people go out and buy the CD, David?

CLEMO: Yes, actually the album came out yesterday, in fact. It hit -- you can get it at Wal-Mart, Target, Barnes & Noble. You can get it off of iTunes. And we actually peaked on yesterday at number two. So we're really happy about that.

KING: Well, I'm going to be the first one online tomorrow. Thank you, guys. I salute you all!

CROWD: Thank you, Larry.

JENS: Happy anniversary.

KING: We owe you -- thank you we owe you a great debt, 4Troops. Our exclusive with TI is tomorrow night. Mick Jagger is here Tuesday. Right now, it's Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?